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Peri-urban Land Transactions

Everyday Practices and Relations in Peri-urban Blantyre, Malawi

Jimu Ignasio Malizani

Publication Year: 2012

This book explores the changing land relations in the peri-urban villages of Blantyre in Malawi.  It questions and debates how and why the peri-urban villages have become the locus of the selling and buying of customary land, the practices and also the relations involved. The book provides rich ethnographic insights on the commodification of land relations, custom, practices, disputes and social relations between land sellers, land buyers, traditional leaders, and intermediaries. The transactions draw strength from the growing peri-urbanization and monetization of social relations, both of which push towards land decisions at family and individual levels. Bigger groups like the village, clan or extended family have minimal, if not symbolic role only. Village headmen benefit materially by taking gifts (signing fee) rationalized by custom on reciprocity, while estate agents claim commission. Numerous constraints are negotiated about the ownership, rights to sale, multiple selling and the use and sharing of land money. Peri-urban land transactions offer scope for examining a wider range of social and economic relations, and the subtle ways in which the state infiltrates the everyday lives of actors. Overtime, the practices reproduce but also transform land relations in significant but less appreciated ways.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title page

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p. 2-2

Copyright page

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p. 3-3

Dedication

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pp. 4-5

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Abstract

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pp. i-ii

This book tells a story of changing land relations in the peri-urban villages of Blantyre in Malawi. It questions and debates how and why the peri-urban villages have become the locus of the selling and buying of customary land, the practices and also the relations that are involved. ...

Contents

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pp. iii-vi

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Acknowledgements

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pp. vii-viii

I wish to acknowledge financial support from the Basel Institute on Governance (BIG) for the period from October 2008 to September 2009, and the Stipendienkommission für Nachwuchskräfte aus Entwicklungsländern-Basel Stadt from July 2010 to August 2011. ...

List of tables / Figures

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pp. ix-x

Acronyms and abbreviations/Note on Malawi’s currency

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pp. x-xii

Glossary

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Chapter One - Introduction

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pp. 1-40

The land question in Africa continues to be a hot topic with significant but also enduring impact on the content and direction of socioeconomic change. As Meur and Lund (2005) rightly pointed out in relation to the governance of land in Africa, the land question is almost omnipresent in social, political and economic debates. ...

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Chapter Two - The Researcher as Participant: Method, Theory and Limitations

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pp. 41-68

Investigating peri-urban land transactions presents difficulties because of the official position that characterize such transactions as ‘illegal’. Participants are sometimes reluctant to talk openly about the transactions except where there is sufficient trust. This chapter provides an account of my research by narrowing on the means ...

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Chapter Three - Locating the peri-urban: the socio-cultural and livelihoods context

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pp. 69-106

The peri-urban as a spatial category is a socially constructed non isolable unit. Often, it reflects challenges and the temporality of delimiting rural and urban spaces (Nkwae 2006). Perceived solely in relation to the outward expansion of the urban into rural areas, it is often associated with the spread of urban populations, ...

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Chapter Four - Commodification and objectification of peri-urban Land

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pp. 107-154

A major characteristic of peri-urban land transaction is that land is objectified and the relations to it monetized. Consequently in everyday interactions the land is perceived and often portrayed as embodying both use value and exchange value. It is not given out, allocated and reallocated for free except as inheritance. ...

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Chapter Five - Practices and legitimation in pPeri-urban land Transactions

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pp. 155-212

In this chapter I will narrate everyday practices, if perceived as ways of operating, in peri-urban land transactions. As peri-urban customary land is no longer perceived as embodying use values only but also exchange values, access rights and rights to sell it are often subject to perpetual negotiation. ...

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Chapter Six - Peri-urban Land Disputes and Dispute Resolution

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pp. 213-262

The objective of this chapter is to demonstrate as already mentioned in the previous chapter that practices in peri-urban land transactions do not always fit neatly with perceptions of normality. As such there are several situations that culminate in disagreements and disputes. ...

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Chapter Seven - Intermediaries in peri-urban Land Transactions

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pp. 263-310

This chapter turns to estate agents and in doing so it seeks to demonstrate how peri-urban land transactions are eventually attracting a diversified group of intermediaries. As intermediaries in peri-urban land transactions, many estate agents are not registered with the state. This aspect raises a general question about the legitimacy of the practices. ...

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Chapter Eight - Intentionality and implications of selling peri-urban land

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pp. 311-360

The commodification of land as a form of social action affects many periurban villagers in multiple ways given that the selling of land transform normal expectations of the actors in ways that effectively leads to redefinition of normativity in social life. For many of the peri-urban villagers the mere mention or prospects of selling land ...

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Chapter Nine - Epilogue on peri-urban land transactions

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pp. 361-372

This study has unpacked a bundle of relations involved in peri-urban land transactions, the processes and practices in particular, as they are experienced in everyday life. In the interim it can be argued that land whether as inalienable or as alienable resource plays a significant role in the social and economic life of many people in peri-urban areas of Malawi. ...

Bibliography

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pp. 373-404

Back Cover

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p. 425-425


E-ISBN-13: 9789956728848
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956728848

Page Count: 422
Publication Year: 2012